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Madonna Inn - San Luis Obispo Run Details

Don't miss our run to Madonna Inn, a landmark resort hotel on California's Central Coast, the weekend of July 22nd & 23rd. ...

Countryman Top Crash Test Performer

The Detroit Free Press reports, in part:
The four-door Mini Cooper Countryman was the only one of 12 cars to earn a top rating of “good” in new frontal crash tests.

The Nissan Leaf, Nissan Juke, Fiat 500L and Mazda5 wagon all fared worst in the tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an Arlington, Va.-based safety group that’s funded by insurers.

The Chevrolet Volt, Ford C-Max, Mitsubishi Lancer, Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ all got the second-highest rating of “acceptable.” The Hyundai Veloster and Scion xB were a notch below that, with “marginal” ratings.

What Does The Daily Drive Like/Dislike About The 2014 MCS Automatic?

Here is a sample of test drive reviews by The Daily Drive of the Consumer Guide. One of John Biel's likes -
Among the new tech features is a choice of “Sport,” “Mid,” or “Green” driving modes that impact things like fuel delivery, steering, and transmission calibrations. The test car came with the optional 6-speed automatic transmission, which, when in Green mode, activates a coasting feature that disengages the transmission when your foot is off the gas. To this driver, it was not too obtrusive—certainly less so than the engine stop/start that a number of other cars use as a fuel-saving device.
Here's one of his dislikes:
Front-seat construction is segmented, and portions of the cushion hit in odd places that you feel with some discomfort.

MTTS 2014 Day 3: To Grand Junction, CO

video

[Source: via KREX TV NewsChannel 5]

A Little MTTS 2014 Frivolity


Mini Takes The States from Giggle and Riot on Vimeo.

An AutoCar Review Of The MINI Countryman Cooper S ALL4








U.K. based AutoCar provides a "first drive" review the 2014 version of the MINI Countryman Cooper S ALL4 and decides:
The revised Countryman (whose predecessor last year accounted for one-third of worldwide Mini sales) looks a slightly quirky choice if your alternative among baby SUVs is something like a Vauxhall Mokka.

Yet in any company the Countryman can certainly hold its head up: it appears to be heading for a continuation of the past four years' healthy demand, while repositioning itself effectively enough to reduce the harm it might otherwise do to sales of the forthcoming five-door hatchback. This way, everyone’s a winner.

Day 2 Of MTTS 2014 Brings Police Escort And Speed Traps

roadtrippers recounts the events of day 2 of MINI Takes The States 2014 (with a host of photos), including a Nevada police escort followed by a Nevada State Trooper Speed Trap that cost quite a few MINI owners $115+ each in speeding ticket fines.

And They're Off!!! MTTS 2014 Commences

MINI Takes The State 2014 kicked off in San Francisco with an exhibition by skateboard expert Tony Hawk jumping a MINI.

Here's the official BMW Group PressClub USA Press Release about the commencement of the rally!

Comparing The 2014 MCS To Wallace And Gromit

autos.ca has a test drive review of the 2014 MINI Cooper S calling the styling -
". . . a car that looks like Wallace after being handed Gromit’s vet bill for hip dysplasia surgery."

AutoGuide.com Reviews The 2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop

AutoGuide.com provides its review of the 2015 MINI ending with these comments:
When you think of subcompacts, you might picture something cheap and unrefined. But as the 2014 MINI Cooper shows, that doesn’t need to be true. The new Cooper Hardtop is a premium subcompact that doesn’t pull any punches in delivering an above average driving experience no matter how you take it.

Directing You Out Of The Parking Lot After The Opera

[Source: Hooniverse]

VDL Nedcar MINI First Born Special Edition

In honor of commencement of MINI production at the Netherlands VDL Nedcar plant, according to the library of motoring, MINI has created the special MINI First Born Edition. Only 350 will be made.

Here is a list of options for the vehicle:

  • Multi-function steering wheel with cruise control
  • Leather-wrapped 3-spoke sports steering wheel
  • Comfort Access
  • Armrest with storage
  • Park Distance Control (PDC), rear
  • Rain sensor
  • Trip computer with fuel consumption calculation
  • Radio MINI Visual Boost
  • Advanced Bluetooth phone preparation
  • Velor mats
  • Storage package
  • MINI Excitement pack
  • MINI Driving Mode
  • Sports seats
  • Automatic climate control
  • Interior Light Package
  • White indicator lights
  • Navigation system Professional
  • MINI Connected XL
  • Roof and exterior mirror caps in black
  • Chrome Line Interior
  • Chrome Line Exterior
  • 16 “alloy wheels Victory Spoke, black
  • Upholstery fabric / leatherette Carbon Black
  • Piano Black Interior Panels
  • LED fog lamps

Aftermarket F56 Design Change Opportunity

MotoringFile explores the most controversial design element of the F56, the protruding front chin, and finds it is a separate piece mounted on the front bumper thereby providing aftermarket design change opportunities.

2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop Frontal Crash Test

Not too bad. Not too bad at all.

2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop
Overall Safety Rating: 4 Stars

Frontal Crash Rating: 4 Stars (Driver: 4, Passenger: 5)
Side Crash Rating: 4 Stars (Driver: 5, Passenger: 2*)
Side Pole Crash Rating: 5 Stars
Combined Side Barrier and Pole Rating: (Driver: 5, Passenger: 2)
Rollover Rating: 4 Stars
Risk of Rollover: 11.1%

*During the side impact test, the interior door panel struck the torso of the rear passenger dummy, causing a high lower spine acceleration. High lower spine accelerations, in excess of 82 g's, indicate a higher likelihood of thoracic injury.

NHTSA - New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), Frontal Test:
Crash test dummies representing an average-sized adult male and a small-sized adult female are placed in the driver and front passenger seats, respectively, and are secured with seat belts. Vehicles are crashed into a fixed barrier at 35 mph (56.3km/h), which is equivalent to a head-on collision between two similar vehicles each moving at 35 mph.



[Source: CrashNet1 @ YouTube]

Autocar Reviews The MINI JCW Paceman All4

Autocar does a first drive review of the MINI JCW Paceman All4 and decides:
From an enthusiasts’ point of view, there's quite a bit to like about the John Cooper Works Paceman All4. It is a genuinely engaging car to drive, with impressive grip, great traction, tenacious handling and a surprisingly good ride.

But at £29,440, it really should offer more. Its engine is eager in nature, but the hard-working four-cylinder unit ultimately fails to provide the bullish-looking three-door hatchback with the sort of performance its illustrious name suggests it should. We also have reservations about its suitability as a long-distance proposition. Tyre roar, even on the smooth Danish roads on which we drove, proved excessive, making it a chore at motorway speeds.

Smart buyers will choose the Cooper S Paceman All4 and pocket the £7090 difference.

MINI's Wacky Introduction Of JCW Concept At 2014 NAIAS



[Source: Clutch Tech @ YouTube]

South Korea's Girl's Day Foam Wash New MINI



[Source: via autoevolution]

MINI Stress, Questionable Decisions

Watch this vlog from subaruwrxfan @ YouTube where he picks up his MINI from the dealer service and discovers a potentially much more serious problem.  subaruwrxfan @ YouTube does not immediately call MINI Service, AAA or the dealer. He keeps on driving. What would you do

autoblog Reviews The 2014 MINI Cooper S

autoblog has issued its full review of the new 2014 MINI Cooper S. Reviewer Brandon Turkus concludes:
didn't fall in love with the last-generation R56 Mini because it was too compromised. It sacrificed driving thrills and character in the name of comfort and refinement, but that balance hurt the enthusiast without adequately benefitting the general buying public – it was neither comfortable nor refined enough to be worth the performance trade-offs. With this latest generation, that balance has been altered to the point that the end product will be more pleasing to both groups. This is a genuinely fun and accessible performance car, but it's also a first-class commuter, offering all the abilities that make these cars so popular without any of the drawbacks. It's a hugely satisfying start to the reborn Mini Cooper's third act, and I can't wait to see where the brand goes from here.

Holy Schiesse!

An almost major MINI mishap at Nurburgring.  Where did all those pedestrians come from anyway?



[Source: via The Supercar Kids]

Comparing The 2013 VW Tiguan S To The MINI Cooper Countryman

FindTheBest compares the two and gives the nod to the MINI in part because:
The Tiguan S is 33.3% less fuel efficient than the Cooper Countryman in the city. On the highway, it's 25.7% less efficient. Assuming 15,000 miles driven annually (split evenly between highway and city driving), and an average gas price of $3.65 per gallon, the Volkswagen will use $2,489 worth of fuel, while the MINI will use $1,766. The Cooper Countryman will save you $723 per year, which comes out to about $60 per month.

A Rental Review Of The 2014 Clubman

Car Renting Reviews finds the 2014 MINI Cooper Clubman rented by Avis and National full of character, but not very practical.  It offers these pros and cons:
PROS:

- Rear seats surprisingly spacious
- Quirky character
- Steering & braking feel
- Base audio sound

CONS:

- Visibility (front and rear)
- Egress
- Occasional jerky transmission shifting
- Pokey acceleration

BMWBlog Previews The 2015 MINI Paceman

BMWBlog looks at the 2015 MINI Paceman and provides a model variant rundown with additional info, such as:
Driving fun and comfort at premium level with extensive standard trim and a wide range of customisation options; high-end selection of optional extras, including new LED fog lamps with daytime driving lights and parking lights in LED technology as well as xenon headlamps and adaptive turning light, comfort access, glass push/tilt roof, automatic air conditioning, removable tow hitch with a trailer load of up to 1 200 kilograms, MINI navigation system, Sport Button, sports leather steering wheel with shift paddles for automatic transmission, multifunction steering wheel with cruise control Harman Kardon hi-fi speaker system; model-specific John Cooper Works accessories also available.

Celebrating 10 Years With The Top Down

The MINI Convertible first went on sale in July 2004. autoevolution provides an extensive photo gallery of the vehicle over the years in celebration of its first decade of motoring.

Quadruple Win For MINI At Baja Aragon


Motorsport.com reports Nani Roma and MINI ALL4 Racing won the Baja Aragon rally. His teammates made it a sweep with the top four finishers, Orlando Terranova/Moi Torrallardona (AR/ES), Martin Kaczmarski/Tappio Suominen (PL/FI) and the current World Cup leader Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RU/RU).

DIY (Video): PlastiDip Your MINI's Dashboard



[Source: zhTurbo @ YouTube]

MINI Production Starts At VDL Nedcar

On July 16, 2014, the first Dutch MINIs from the VDL Nedcar plant rolled off the assembly line. BMWBlog reports on the festivities attendant the commencement of VDL Nedcar MINI production.

AutoExpress Names 2014 MINI Cooper S "Car Of The Year"

U.K.'s AutoExpress has chosen the 2014 MINI F56 as its 2014 "Car Of The Year." It says, in part:
The bad news for rivals is that this is just the beginning for the iconic brand. MINI is planning a wave of spin-off models, including a practical five-door that makes its debut later this year. So don’t be surprised if the MINI success story rolls on into 2015.

Hankook To Provide Rubber For New MINIs













According to RubberNews.com Hankook will supply the following new MINI "fitments":
• Kinergy EcoSummer and Optimo H426 All-Season in 175/65 R15H as the standard fitment for the Mini [sic] One and Cooper models, with 16- and 17-inch models as options;

• Optimo H426 All-Season in 195/55R16V and Ventus and Ventus Prime² in size 195/55R16W as standard fitments for the Cooper S; and

• Optimo H426 and Ventus S1 evo² in size 205/45R17V and W speed ratings as options on the S version.

The all-season fitments are intended for vehicles being exported to North America, Hankook said. The run-flat versions are the 17-inch fitments, Hankook said.

X-raid Team Fields 6 MINI ALL4 Racing For Baja Aragon

The X-raid Team will race 6 MINI All4 Racing vehicles in Spain at the Baja Aragon, the sixth of ten FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup race stages. RallyRaid.net provides a thorough article on the team and its preparations for the rally.

Motor Trend Drives 2014 MINI Cooper S


Motor Trend provides a first drive review of the 2014 MINI Cooper S. Its opinion piece concludes:
The Cooper S has its tradeoffs. It's entertaining, but rough-around-the-edges. It's amazingly efficient (29 mpg combined!), but at nearly 28 grand, you'll be wondering who hid your navigation system and why you're raising your voice to carry a conversation. This much is clear: The Cooper S Hardtop is still funky and fun, regardless if a direct link to the brilliant GP – aka "King Mini" – exists or not. And to its pool of unique buyers, that's all that matters.

An Automobile Magazine Feature On MINI Dakar Success

Automobile has a feature on MINI's Dakar Rally win that includes commentary such as this:
As we proceeded, I realized that the larger Minis get, the less character they have. Although it is capable of running 120 mph with four occupants and their gear, the Mini Countryman All4 just doesn’t thrill like the original Cooper S. Yet there was a lot of cargo space in back, where our lunches were stored out of reach. Because of the hurry, a sleeve of Oreos went around instead, but one taste of the filling, flavored with dulce de leche and banana, was enough.

DIY (Video): Replace The A/C Compressor On A 2003 MCS



[Source: Broncocarl92 @ YouTube]

auto123.com Rates The 2014 MINI Cooper

auto123.com's major quibble is that the seats do not slide forward sufficiently for good rear seat access (maybe it will prefer the five door). Here is its Summary Rating:

Summary Rating:

Styling (80%)
Accessories (74%)
Space and Access (76%)
Comfort (82%)
Performance (82%)
Driving Dynamics (85%)
Safety (82%)
General Appreciation (80%)

Five Things About The MINI Five Door



[Source: via autoevolution]

Chance To Win A 2014 MINI Cooper S Roadster

Enter the priceline.com Summer Road Trip Sweepstakes for a chance to win a 2014 Mini Cooper S Roadster with factory options, driving lamps in black, black bonnet stripes, destination and handling fee, and a check in the amount of $4,000 to help offset tax, title, and registration costs. The total ARV of the prize is $34,533.

(US Only, No AK, HI, GU & PR, 18+, Single Entry, Ends July 31, 2014)

[Source: via Whole Mom]

What Do They Think Of The New MINI In Zimbabwe?

The Zimbabwe Mail sub-captions its review of the New MINI, "Small with a heavy heart."

The New MINI: High-Speed Mobile Device

[Source: library of motoring]

2016 MINI JCW Hot Weather Testing In The US

MotoringFile reports a 230 bhp 2.0 liter turbo 2016 MINI JCW has been spotted hot weather testing in Death Valley, CA.  According to the article there have been some changes since debut of the concept vehicle:

  • Gone are the fog lights and in place extra cooling. The right side is blank but the left side clearly leads to an additional radiator required by the 230hp four cylinder.
  • The test mule didn’t have the rear defuser. Could this be something MINI is saving for the full reveal or saving for another more extreme model?
  • Gone are the subtle plastic fender flaps that gave the concept a slightly more aggressive look. We’re hoping they reappear in production form.
  • The car is clearly lower with a seemingly wider track
  • The brakes look to be iterations of the previous JCW four piston design and not the brakes from the R56 GP
  • The production car has the prototypes flared side sills

Put Away Your Wallet. Use TLC

According to CarSite.co.uk MINI has discovered over a quarter of its vehicle owners are shelling out for maintenance that is covered under their pre-paid TLC package. In the UK MINI has launched a website, www.mini-service.co.uk, where owners can check to see if the maintenance they seek is included in the pre-paid plan.

MINI JCW One Of Ten Fastest Production FWD Cars

Wall St. Cheat Sheet names the MINI John Cooper Works of the ten fastest globally available front wheel drive production cars. Read the article to find out about the other nine. The article says about the MINI:
With the new generation of the Mini Cooper Hardtop just hitting showrooms and driveways, the John Cooper Works edition has yet to surface. But the Coupe from the last generation is still available, with its perky 208 horsepower turbo-four, driving the car to 60 in about 6.1 seconds. Why the Coupe? It’s lighter, since it lacks the reinforcing equipment required in the convertible that adds weight and reduces rigidity. An overboost function will push torque over 200 pound-feet, making it one of the most fun Minis in the stable.

An Interview With A Mini Mechanic

MINI Space interviews Scottish Mini Mechanic Andrew Forbes, a born Miniac who bought his first Mini when he was 13 years old.

A First Look Review Of The 2015 MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door

Cars.com's KickingTires blog takes a first look at the new MINI Five Door and says it looks like a "subdued Mini Countryman":
Called the Mini Cooper Hardtop 4 Door, this new model is based on the recent redesign of the two-door hatchback, the model that reintroduced the brand to the U.S. around the turn of the millennium. The two options in door-count transform the Mini Hardtop into a true competitor of Volkswagen's Golf, which comes in either two- or four-door hatchback body styles.

Speed Kills!

[Source: Just A Car Guy]

MINI Cooper S Versus Renault Clio RS200

We know the French vehicle is unavailable in the U.S. but not down under as Car Advice compares the vehicles and decides:
The Mini, despite its firmer ride, is the more mature and premium feeling car, yet also the one that has the most rewarding steering and handling when you’re driving it like a hot-hatch should be driven. Without all its exorbitant options there’s still a superb car to be had, and that’s enough for us to give the Mini Cooper S the win here, if only by the smallest of margins.

2.0 Litre Turbo MINI JCW To Debut At 2015 Detroit Motor Show

BMWBlog reports, based on an Autoweek article, the MINI John Cooper Works will be launched at the 2015 Detroit Motor Show with a 2.0 liter turbocharged engine.

Meet Andreas Glockshuber, MINI Aerodynamics Tester

MINI Space profiles Andreas Glockshuber. Glockshuber works in the MINI wind tunnel as a MINI aerodynamics tester. The MINI Space article focuses on testing the MINI Paceman.

BMWBlog Previews The 2015 MINI Countryman

BMWBlog looks at the 2015 MINI Countryman model variants and reports, in part:
Refined details, optimised acoustic comfort and reinforced premium characteristics in the interior; dark dials for road speed and engine speed; MINI John Cooper Works Countryman additionally with John Cooper Works logo in the central instrument; ventilation controls with chrome applications; five seats and exceptional variability with rear seats that can be shifted 13 centimetres longitudinally, backrests that are tilt-adjustable and foldable in a 40: 20 : 40 split; luggage compartment volume can be extended from 350 to as much as 1,170 litres.

Fastest Cars Under $30K

The Wall St. Cheat Sheet lists 20 of them including, at No. 20, the MINI Cooper S Coupe and, at No. 18, the MINI Cooper S Hatchback.

A Top 10 2014 Total Quality Nod Goes To The MCS Roadster

AutoGuide.com names the 2014 MINI Cooper S Roadster a top 10 Total Quality Index choice. It advises:
In the Standard Convertible category, the MINI Cooper Roadster took top honors with a score of 931. The compact model can be had for $26,950 and comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine as standard with 121 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. As one would expect with such a compact car, the MINI Roadster returns 28 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.

Pitting The MCS Against The Audi S1 And Ford Fiesta ST

United Kingdom's Auto Express compares the three and gives the first place nod to the Fiesta primarily based on value for the money.

Green Car Reports Quick Drive Of An Automatic 2014 MINI

Green Car Reports takes a quick drive around Bear Mountain, New York, as has this, in part, to say about the 2014 MINI Cooper Automatic:
On the road, the new-generation MINI Cooper retains the instantaneous response and "roller-skate handling" of its predecessors. Thankfully, that's been engineered into a considerably more civilized car, with modern amenities and a much quieter interior.

The Sport mode was by far the most rewarding (and least fuel-efficient) way to drive the MINI Cooper, with the little three-cylinder engine eager to rev and the paddle shifters letting us at least simulate a manual gearbox.

Did we mention we really want to test the manual MINI next?

A Week And 800 Miles In A F56

MotoringFile drove 7 days and 800 miles in a new F56 MINI Cooper and provides its notes, such as:
While it doesn’t [sic] feel as quick as the original R53 Cooper S, it’s not far behind it. You can easily lose traction in both 1st and 2nd gear from a dead stop.

MINI Takes Red Bull Wake Of Steel 2014

For the third year in a row MINI, Red Bull and 16 world class wakeboarders turned the industrial harbor of Linz, Austria into an epic wakeboarding competition course. MINI Space covered the event and provides a highlight video:



Nani Roma And MINI ALL4 Racing Ready For The 2014 Baja Arágon

Dakar champion Joan "Nani" Roma and MINI ALL4 Racing will take on the 2014 Baja Arágon in Spain later in July 2014.

Motorsport.com reports on his hill-climb efforts at Goodwood and he team preparation for the Baja.

Have A Happy And Safe Independence Day



NORCAL MINIS wishes all of you a happy and safe celebration of the Fourth of July. Drive sober and defensively. Remember, you never know about the other guy.

PistonHeads.com Finally Returns Its MINI Clubvan Tester

PistonHeads.com finally had to relinquish its beloved MINI Clubvan tester, but not before one last good thrashing on the track at Silverstone.

230 BHP For The 2015 MINI Cooper JCW

According to worldcarfans BMW sources have revealed the 2015 MINI Cooper JCW will have around 230 bhp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque from a 2.0 litre turbocharged engine derived from BMW's B48 engine.

2014 MINI Line-up To Be Introduced In India In Late 2014

According to CarWale:
BMW has confirmed that the 2014 Mini will be launched in India, later this year, after the introduction of the 7 Series ActiveHybrid and the i8 supercar. . . .

NORCAL MINIS CALENDAR & OTHER EVENTS